Tips

10 steps to better legibility for body copy

Newspaper typefaces require a higher legibility then typefaces used for other printed products. Newspaper are printed on a paper of lesser quality under high speed.

1. Great newspaper body copy typeface. 

Serif typeface is easier to read then sans serif font.

2. The right size.

Don’t go under 9 pt. As a basic rule this is not far off, but more important is the visual impact. A smaller type size can work for you if you use a typeface with bigger x-height. For example, typeface Gulliver by Gerard Unger looks big, even when printed in small sizes.

3. The leading.
The leading, or distance between the lines, depends on the characteristics of a specific typeface. Especially its x-heigh. Large ascender height and a small x-height calls for less leading, while a small ascender height, combined with a high x-height, needs more space between the lines. Most layout software suggest 20% of the type size. This is a relative number and should be avoided, since it does not take into account the individual design of the typeface. And…ascenders and descenders should not touch each other.

4. Column width.

Since most body copy is set justified, the ideal column width is the one that does not create unnecessary hyphenations and unwanted word spacing. A good number to look for is around 35 characters per line.

5. Hyphenation.

Hyphenation is an important tool for a legible body copy. Words with less then six characters should not be separated. In many languages it is sensible to choose two letters to separate the first syllable. Also, the last word in a paragraph should not be hyphenated.

6. Individual change of typefaces.

In addition to the settings for hyphenation routines and justification, the variations in the scaling of fonts, and kerning of text type, belong to the most serious dangers to the legibility of the text. Some sumptuously transitional typefaces can be kerned up to plus/minus 3%, but they are the exceptions.

Baseline grid, left side – OK, right side – wrong
7. Baseline grid

All the lines that are set on one baseline give a clean look while text that is not set this way tend to give the impression of dancing lines.

8. Change of type styles.

All you need is bold and italic to put a highlight in your text. Bold is strong, italic is silent.

9. Color

Colored typefaces slow down the reading process, no matter how attractive they seem to be. Use the color if you don’t have any other solutions to attract readers eye.

10. Column alignment.

Under the terms of legibility there are only two possible ways of body copy alignment: Justified and flush left alignment.

About these ads

About Zoran Opalić

Around the World: 1997. NY, USA - Design Workshop at the New York School of Visual Arts // 2003. Hamburg, Germany - Mario Garcia Studio - media design,future of print media.// 2004. Innsbruck, Austria - News Desk, News Desk work shop// 2007. NY, USA - Future of Media and New Technology, New York // 2007. Miami, USA - "React to the news in the short term - in the newsroom work flow". More info: January 1st, 2008: madeIN magazine. Occupation or position held: Publisher/Owner Name and address of employer: Dobro Slovo Brace Domany 8, 10000 Zagreb (Croatia) Type of business or sector Publishing (Magazine) Web January 1st, 2001 - December 31st, 2007 Vecernji list daily. Occupation or position held: Art Director Type of business or sector Publishing, Daily Newspaper. Early Years: I have worked on a different creative media projects — Jutarnji list daily (at the time - 1998. new daily newspapers in Croatia), Globus, Studio, HAK, Nova Vjencanja, Auto Plus...

Discussion

One thought on “10 steps to better legibility for body copy

  1. Hey can I copy and paste this post on my web site? What references must I give? You might give this info for other people too.

    Posted by 抓姦 | June 21, 2012, 4:23 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

BACK to BASICS: Portraits

Portraits of people are one of the first elements of the photography used in newspapers.

BODY COPY

Newspaper typefaces require a higher legibility then typefaces used for other printed products. Newspaper are printed on a paper of lesser quality under high speed.

Typography: x-heigh

In typography, x-heigh refers to the heigh of lower case letters without upper or lower parts when compared to capital letters...

How to redesign 1

Good redesign is driven by a deep understanding of the editorial mission of the publication.

Headline on photographs

The eternal dilemma! Dilemma of all editors on the planet Earth – to put or not put the headline or any kind of type in the photo.

Design Facts

Three elements that will greatly help you to understand how readers are observing you.

Typeface: NY Times Magazine

Sunday Magazine is an expansive family of fonts for information in tiny spaces and headlines at large sizes.

Infographics

When, why and whether to use infographic. The basic fact is that infographic refresh the publication, and it contributes to originality of your product.

Get to know your readers

We have moved from a solid to a fluid phase of modernity, in which nothing keeps its shape, and social forms are constantly changing at great speed...

Designer George Lois

“I always knew I was the most talented kid in the school, ” says George Lois of his time at Music and Art. “I was lucky to be exposed to the city’s best art education"...

A well-designed publication

Everything that a well-designed publication must have...

Design Theory

There is no design theory and definition. There are only basic principles that are the base for recording designers ideas and imagination on the paper, tablet or your web.

Archives

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,310 other followers

%d bloggers like this: